. Bailed Out Of Jail And Holed Up In A Low Rent Motel, Amnesiac Eric Ashworth S Only Memory Is A Woman S Name Desiree With Steadily Increasing Doses Of A Strange New Hallucinogen, Eric Finds That The Drug Allows Him To Reassemble His Past In Broken Fragments But As He Begins To Lose Touch With The Present, His Distinction Between Truth And Fantasy Begins To Crumble, Creating A World Where Divisions Between Love And Loss, Violence And Tenderness, And Fact And Fiction Are Less Discernible Than They Ought To Be . I was going to start this review by comparing Clevenger s writing to that of Chuck Palahniuk and Will Christopher Baer He s got the pace and acerbic plot mind of one and the visceral, dizzying prose of the other Then I flipped to the acknowledgements, and there, on the second paragraph, Clevenger thanks them both Well, no wonder, I thought Fans of either or both Palahniuk and Baer are bound to love Dermaphoria Clevenger starts with a classic and almost trite premise a man wakes up in a hospital, and the only thing he knows is one name Desiree The man Eric Ashworth sought after by info hungry cops, antsy attorneys, and dispassionate mobsters attempts to piece together his life, bit by bit, around that one name, using both old fashioned persistence and a new street drug The substance, called Skin, synthesizes the sense of touch, using it to extract reality rich remembrances from an ever expanding history Having memory is just a way of distorting a greater amount of the past, says one character The only problem Skin comes with some pretty serious side effects And, further, who s to say that the results are 100% accurate One part mystery, one part noir, and every bit of it a puzzle of firey, arresting prose, Dermaphoria is a great book Ashworth s disorientation is made all the palpable by Clevenger s crackling writing Some might find the descriptions over written, but I d say he hasn t written enough This 214 page novel is a quick read, ending faster than it takes a firefly to blink Clevenger s descriptions are hefty and mobile, apt and stunning, and everything is slathered with import even the names themselves, Ashworth and Desiree and others, are totems for a larger point This book is about than just drug overdoses and regrets, and like his contemporaries even so than Palahniuk, I d say , Clevenger refuses to dilute his tale with bromides or easy outs.However, even if you don t have the inclination to dig beneath the topsoil of Clevenger s mesmerizing world, you can still enjoy the lusciously dirty surface It s a tale that is rewarding on multiple levels, superficial or subliminal, and although the ending is chaotic and heart breaking Clevenger s male protagonists never seem to catch a break , it also proves there s a real heart there to be broken Dark, smart, gritty, and spare, Dermaphoria gets under the skin and stays there You should read it, and then read it again.In case you forgot anything. Read this book twice now Clevenger has, with two slim books, become my favorite author, most enjoyable, creative, researched No negatives, this book ll knock you on your ass.
Author of books frequently borrowed but seldom returned.
- 224 pages
- Craig Clevenger
- 14 January 2019 Craig Clevenger